Independence Rep. Jim Kelly cast the linchpin vote Wednesday to pass legislation giving Kansas landowners authority to resell deer permits to out-of-state hunters.
Moments before voting on the bill ended, the Republican lawmaker delivered the 63rd vote — the minimum number required for adoption — to send the package to the Senate. Comparable bills have been shot down in the past because of concern that trophy-deer hunting businesses would gain broader control of prime hunting locations and squeeze more Kansans out of the picture.
The outcome was a relief to Rep. Ken Corbet, the Topeka Republican who operates a hunting lodge in Shawnee County and was a key sponsor of House Bill 2167.
“The farmers and ranchers are the gatekeepers to all who want to enjoy the great hunting opportunities in this state,” Corbet said.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism opposed the bill. Critics of the legislation said they were uneasy about opening a resale market for deer permits offered to nonresidents. Each landowner with 80 acres would be able to resell one permit at the highest rate the market allowed.
Out-of-state people are allowed to hunt in Kansas, but permits are acquired from KDWPT through a lottery system.
Rep. Joe Seiwert, R-Pretty Prairie, said the influx of hunters from other states would help Kansas control a deer population involved in thousands of vehicle crashes each year. There were about 10,200 deer-and-car wrecks in 2016 and 2017, state officials said.
“It’s not about making Kansas the No. 1 state for white-tail big bucks,” Seiwert said. “It’s about safety on our highways for our families and our constituents.”
Rep. Stan Frownfelter, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kan., who had his attempt to amend the deer bill blocked, made an attempt at levity by sharing with colleagues how the legislation gave him a heavy heart. “Do you really want to put a target on Bambi’s back?” he said.
In other action on bills debated Tuesday and approved on floor votes Wednesday, the House passed a measure to improve public disclosure of economic development tax breaks granted by the Kansas Department of Commerce.
House Bill 2006 would require the agency to disclose on a public website information about incentives awarded to businesses. The auditing division of the Legislature would begin analysis of income and property tax breaks given companies.
The House also passed a bill designed to improve treatment of people infected with chlamydia. Under House Bill 2198, physicians could prescribe medication to an infected patient and provide that patient with prescriptions for partners likely infected with the sexually transmitted disease.
“The bill in its current form is troubling. There is no doctor-patient relationship for partners receiving prescriptions. The number of prescriptions one patient may distribute to partners is not limited. The bill opens the possibility of victims of sexual abuse or sexual trafficking to continue to be hidden by their abuser,” said Rep. Charlotte Esau, R-Olathe.